More tourists, including American travelers, are expected this year at the Louvre and other European destinations as countries continue to get a better handle on the coronavirus. (Photo by Dimitry Anikin from Pexels) Most Americans are looking forward July 4th to celebrations this year like the ones they enjoyed pre-COVID. The vaccinated hubby and I are among that group, although I admit that last year's fireworks free festivities were fine with us. Others, however, are planning on declaring their coronavirus independence in a global fashion. The European Union (EU) plans a gradual and partial easing of its international travel ban... Read more →


While one accused wealthy tax cheat awaits a Spanish court's decision on whether he'll be returned to the United States to face charges, U.S. lawmakers look for ways to snare more rich tax evaders. Or at least get more from them up front. Rather than letting the wealthy have more money to burn, efforts are underway in Washington, D.C., to make it easier to catch rich tax scofflaws, as well as to simply tax them even more. Billionaires who've managed to use tax laws to avoid paying any tax have been getting even more attention lately. Some wealthy people, however,... Read more →


Millions are awaiting Advance Child Tax Credit payments, which will start going out in July, but only to those for whom the IRS has info in its system. If you haven't had to file a return for a while, the agency has a new online tool you can use to register for the payments. Some folks don't have to send the Internal Revenue Service a Form 1040 every year. The reason, though, is not necessarily a welcome one. They don't have to file because they don't make enough money to require telling Uncle Sam about it. And since the COVID-19... Read more →


Photo courtesy Zutobi Could it be? Is Infrastructure Week finally happening? Maybe. There are bills and revisions to bills and working groups and bipartisan agreements and partisan criticisms of agreements. The only thing that the, at last rough count, eight transportation-plus proposals floating around on Capitol Hill have in common is that none has the votes right now in either chamber to pass. But things are fluid and could change, for better or worse (depending on your political and fiscal position), at any time. The only certainty is that something must be done by the end of this 2021 fiscal... Read more →


June 15 — yep, this coming Tuesday — is Tax Day for all Louisianans (and Texans and Oklahomans) who endured mid-February's historic freeze. But some Pelican State taxpayers now get even longer to finish up their 2020 tax year returns. The Internal Revenue Service says victims of severe storms and flooding in parts of Louisiana that began May 17 now have until Aug. 16 to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments. The affected filers live in or have businesses in Ascension, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, and Lafayette Parishes. These parishes were designated as disaster... Read more →


Photo by Roberto Nickson via Pexels On May 26, sky watchers across much of the world were awed by the Blood Moon lunar eclipse. It coincided with the moon's closest approach to Earth, meaning the so-called supermoon took on a reddish hue during the event, giving it the dramatic name. Then just last week, some of us were treated to an annular solar eclipse that appeared as a ring of fire when the moon blocked out only the middle of the sun, leaving its glow around the edges. Most, however, saw the June 10 astronomical phenomenon as the moon taking... Read more →


Overhead view of flooding. (Image by Pok Rie via Pexels) It's already been a literally disastrous year for millions of Americans. When Mother Nature does her worst, major disaster areas are declared, meaning affected residents get access to federal assistance. However, the process for providing disaster-related tax relief can take time and be confusing. Sometimes it can be frustratingly close to, or even after, impending tax deadlines. The Internal Revenue Service can't make any decisions to give disaster-struck individual and business taxpayers any filing and payment relief until the president declares a major disaster and the Federal Emergency Management Agency... Read more →


ProPublica's recent article on how little — sometimes nothing — that rich people pay in taxes was not a revelation. It's long been known that the tax code is full of loopholes, which aren't necessarily illegal. Equally acknowledged is that the super wealthy can afford high-dollar tax professionals to find and put these tax breaks to work. Still, the trove of Internal Revenue Service information from, per the investigative journalism nonprofit, "the tax returns of thousands of the nation's wealthiest people, covering more than 15 years" has captured the fancy of all us fellow and much less well-off taxpayers. It's... Read more →


Photo by Min An from Pexels Among the many welcome events that are returning as we continue to move beyond complete COVID-19 lockdown are weddings. Congratulations and best wishes to all the brides and grooms out there who finally are enjoying their long-planned celebrations. My gift to all y'all newlyweds is a few words of marital tax advice. With apologies for the spare gift wrapping, here are some tax tasks you need to take care of now, or at least as soon as you get back from your honeymoon. 1. Make sure everyone knows your new name. After marriage, some... Read more →


A letter from the Internal Revenue Service can be scary. But for 36 million families who soon will find such correspondence in their mail boxes, the news could be good. Very good. The document will have information on the Child Tax Credit (CTC), which was expanded under American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provisions that became law back in March. The $2,000 tax break was hiked for the 2021 tax year to $3,600 for each child age 5 and younger and to $3,000 each for those between ages 6 and 17. Even better, the entire credit is fully refundable for 2021.... Read more →


Are you ready for Tax Day take two? It's June 15 and it's almost here. That mid-June day is the annual deadline for millions of U.S. taxpayers who are living outside the country. That includes members of the armed forces stationed abroad. It's also the due date for the current year's second estimated tax payment. And this year, even more taxpayers will participate. June 15, 2021, is the first Tax Day for millions who literally endured disastrous situations earlier this year. Here's the scoop for all these folks now facing impending June tax obligations. U.S. taxpayers living abroad: Every year,... Read more →


Unemployment benefits were a lifesaver for many Americans who saw their jobs eliminated during the height of coronavirus pandemic. Now some of those unemployment insurance (UI) recipients are getting another boost from the benefits thanks to a change in how the COVID-related funds are taxed. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) deemed up to $10,200 per taxpayer in unemployment compensation as tax-free. ARPA became law on March 11, meaning some filers submitted their 2020 returns and paid tax on all the UI benefits they got last year before the change took effect. Rather than make those folks redo... Read more →


It's a good summer for young people looking for jobs. (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels) Before COVID-19, one of the traditional rites of passage for young people was getting a summer job. After literally being locked out last summer due to business pandemic precautions, young workers are returning. In fact, for American teenagers looking for work, this may be the best summer in years. The share of teenagers working is above pre-pandemic levels. The staffing firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas projects teens will add about 2 million jobs to the economy this summer. Still, despite all that economic and... Read more →


No diet drinks in our pantry! (Photo by Kay Bell) Today we celebrate the sweet, iced or glazed, and often decorated treat we know as doughnuts. The first Friday of June each year is National Doughnut Day. On the other 364 days, though, many of us try to avoid calorie-heavy foods and beverages. And many lawmakers want to help us resist our collective sweet tooth by making such items more expensive. Specifically, they want to tack on new or additional taxes to the belt-busting products. In some cases, the so-called sin tax is on high-fat foods. But the main target... Read more →


More older Americans are going into debt. For many, it seriously undermines their ability to save for a comfortable retirement. (Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko via Pexels) It's no secret why personal finance folks urge us to save early and often. It takes a lot to live like you want when you retire. If you don't have enough stashed after you're done with the 9-to-5 grind, it could be because you are like the individuals in a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) study. They went into more debt as they aged. The government auditing agency's analysis found that older Americans held... Read more →


The Biden Administration has made no secret of its support for electric vehicles. President Joe Biden emphasized that commitment, as well as his general love of motoring, when he took the wheel of Ford's new electric pickup truck at the Michigan plant on May 18. Now Congress is following up on the White House electric auto initiative. $5,000 EV credit hike: Part of the Clean Energy for America bill would boost the current maximum electric vehicle (EV) tax credit from $7,500 to a potential $12,500. It cleared the Senate Finance Committee on May 26. The added $5,000 in tax credits... Read more →


June's arrival, especially now that many coronavirus limits are being lifted, means the start of summertime fun. But it's also a good month to make some key tax moves before heading off to your favorite recreational pursuits. We did it! Survived Tax Day 2021 … unless you're among the millions who got an extension to file or live in a state where the deadline to submit 2020 tax returns was even further delayed. In that case, one of the things you need to take care of this month is filing your taxes. Here more on that and four other tax... Read more →


Memorial Day weekend is a day of recreation for most of us. But we get to enjoy our time off in part because others served in the Armed Forces. The ultimate sacrifice of those military service personnel is the real reason for Memorial Day remembrances every May. And while losing a loved is an unthinkable, difficult situation, survivors of service members do get some special tax considerations. Tax-free benefits, forgiven tax claims: Survivors of deceased Armed Forces members are provided a $100,000 payment. This amount is not taxable. Military survivors also might qualify for tax forgiveness. This situation occurs, notes... Read more →


Joe Biden's campaign slogan "Build Back Better" now is part of his presidency's agenda. Many promises he made in 2020 now are part of the Biden Administration's first federal budget proposal. President Joe Biden's first federal budget proposal, which is for the 2022 fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, comes in at $6 trillion, detailed in more than 1,700 pages. The White House projects its changes will bring $3.6 trillion to the Treasury over the next decade. It also projects a $1.84 trillion deficit. That's a substantial number, up from 2019's $984 billion deficit, but a sharp decrease from the... Read more →


Happy College Savings Day! Or to be more tax specific, Happy National 529 Day! May 29, or 5/29 if you go the numerical route, is the day to celebrate 529 plans, even though the tax-favored educational savings plans get their name from the Internal Revenue Code section under which they were created, not the calendar. Provenance aside, these educational savings accounts grow tax-free as long as you eventually use the money to pay for qualifying school-related expenses. In addition to the usual classroom fees, books, supplies and equipment, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 expanded 529 funds usage.... Read more →